Interac Corp. chief executive Mark O’Connell is leaving the payments processor after 17 years at the helm, as it brings in an outsider to take over.
The company has tapped Jeremy Wilmot, a former executive at Florida-based global payments processing software provider ACI Worldwide, to step into the CEO role as of Aug. 1. Mr. O’Connell will assist in the transition as an adviser until he retires in late October.
Mr. O’Connell led a major restructuring in 2018 that combined the stand-alone business with its non-profit association into a single for-profit corporation. The overhaul was aimed at channelling more money into developing new payment products, and competing with Interac’s main rivals, credit card network and payments service providers Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. Previous attempts to consolidate Interac into a single entity had been thwarted by the Competition Bureau, Canada’s competition watchdog.
Interac was founded in the 1980s by a group of banks to connect their networks of automated banking machines, now known as ATMs. The organization’s atypical structure was intended to prevent its backing financial institutions from taking advantage of the payment processor’s market dominance.
Mr. O’Connell also oversaw the company’s digital strategy, including an acquisition aimed at building out its technology platform for verifying customers’ identities in financial transactions. In 2021, Payments Canada selected Interac to build infrastructure for sending payments over a Real-Time Rail – a system that financial institutions can access at any time to process payments instantly.
Most recently, Mr. Wilmot was the chief product officer at ACI, leading the company’s product management division. He left that role in 2022, but continued in a part-time advisory role with the company. After joining ACI in 1999, he held a series of titles, including chief marketing and revenue officer, and later group president. He supported initiatives across the Americas, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“Jeremy is a seasoned leader who has worked on the leading edge of technology and payment innovation in competitive global markets, and his deep experience will serve the company well as it embarks on its next phase of growth,” Paul Vessey, chair of Interac’s board, said in a statement. “I also want to pay tribute to Mark O’Connell, a remarkable leader who has built Interac into one of Canada’s leading and most trusted financial brands.”
Earlier this year, media reports citing unnamed sources said that ACI was in talks with private equity firms about a potential sale. Last week, the company announced Thomas Warsop as its new CEO. Mr. Warsop had been acting as interim president and CEO since November.